Tuesday, December 28, 2010

baking fun

blurry molasses sugar cookies

My aunt Pauline invited me over for some post-Christmas cookie-making. We looked through her recipe box on Christmas evening for a recipe that wouldn't take too long (no overnight chilling or anything like that) and would be easy to veganise. We settled on molasses sugar cookies, which have no butter and only one egg, and only have to be chilled about an hour before baking. Pauline hadn't made them in a while, but remembered that they were easy to form and then flattened and crinkled up in the oven, becoming 'very professional looking.' She got the recipe in Chicago in 1956. Rachael thought they were the best molasses cookies she'd ever had, and ate her share right up!

Molasses Sugar Cookies

makes about 4 dozen

3/4C shortening
1C sugar
1/4C molasses
1 egg or its equivalent
2C flour, scant (recipe called for sifted flour, but I can't be bothered)
2t baking soda (that seems like a lot, but I think it's so the cookies will over-rise and then collapse with attractive crinkles)
1/2t cloves
1t cinnamon
1/2t ginger
1/2t salt
more sugar for rolling

Melt the shortening in a 3-4qt pan. Let cool briefly, then beat in the sugar and molasses, and then the egg. Sift the remaining ingredients into the pan and mix in thoroughly. Put in the refrigerator to chill for an hour or so.

Heat the oven to 375°F. Roll dough into 1" balls, roll them around in the sugar, and arrange them 2" apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until they seem almost done but are still a little too soft and puffy. Let sit on the pan for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Friday, December 24, 2010

another hippie casserole

work lunch

I recently bought some Scottish fake cheese (Sheese, available at the Pigs Peace Sanctuary's grocery store in Seattle, or by mail from Food Fight in Portland), which I hear is the best available around here now that Heather Mills has stopped US distribution of Cheezly (one more reason to hate her!). When I showed Rachael, she got all excited and said I should ask Annie for the recipe for a wonderful casserole they'd had in which cheese was an essential ingredient. It would be a good way to try out my new cheese! Annie emailed me the recipe and it turned out to be a favorite of my childhood, Spinach Casserole from Diet for a Small Planet. It had eggs in it as well as cheese, but that was easily remedied! Here's my cruelty-free version of

Spinach Casserole

makes enough for 2 or 3, depending on their appetites

2T chickpea flour
1T flax meal
1T tapioca flour
1/3C water
3/4C raw brown rice, cooked (that's one rice cooker cup)
1/2C grated Sheese, strong cheddar style
1 bunch fresh spinach, stemmed and roughly chopped
1/2t salt
1/4t pepper
2T wheat germ mixed with 1T olive oil

Heat oven to 350°. Whisk the flours and meal together with the water in a big bowl. Add all of the remaining ingredients save the wheat germ and oil, and mix well. There will seem to be far too much spinach in proportion to the other ingredients, but it will all work out. Press into a greased 8"x8" pan, and scatter the wheat germ mixture over the top. Bake for about 35 minutes.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Xmas cookies 2010


This year I made eight kinds of cookies, though again I didn't start in time to make Aachener Printen or my previous favorite lebkuchen (I have a new favorite, which I'll tell you about below).

Starting at the top and working around clockwise I made:

  • Cinnamon Roll Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, Rachael's favorites. She thought maybe we should eat them all ourselves, but they were easy and fun to make so I'll be happy to make them again just for her.

  • My new favorite lebkuchen, Mabel's Lebkuchen from the Christmas Cookie Book. My old favorites, Mrs. Schmidt's Lebkuchen are also from this excellent book.

  • Clove hearts from Fine Cooking's 2008 Cookie magazine.

  • Bourbon Balls from The Gourmet Cookie Book--they were the editors' pick for the best cookie recipe from Gourmet magazine in 1980.

  • Better 'n Biscoff, from Baked Explorations. They weren't actually quite as good as real Biscoff--they tasted really good, but their texture wasn't quite right. I think I rolled them out too thin in an attempt to make more cookies out of not very much dough.

  • Dutch Caramel Cashew Cookies, Gourmet's best cookie of 1972. These were very tasty, even though they melted and spread out unattractively. I had the same problem with a similar cookie a couple of years ago, and my theory is that it's because I baked them on a Silpat. I'll have to try them again with parchment paper and see if they turn out prettier.

  • Candy Cane Cookies from The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion These are fun to make and pretty festive looking.

  • And finally, in the center, Pfeffernüsse. Last year I made them with this icing, which looked pretty good but never got as hard as real royal icing with real egg whites. I heard that this icing from the BBC would get harder, so I tried it this year. It was a failure! It's less opaque when dry than last year's icing, and it got even less hard! Plus it had a funny, grainy texture and somehow tasted too sweet.

And here, at Lori's request, is the recipe for the best Lebkuchen ever. These don't need to cure or soften up with a slice of apple or anything, so you still have time to make them before Christmas!

Mabel's Lebkuchen

makes about 20 big cookies, more if you make them smaller

1C honey
3/4C grown sugar
1 egg or its equivalent
1T lemon juice
1t lemon zest
2 1/2C flour (310g)
1/2t baking soda
1/2t allspice
1/2t grated nutmeg
1t cinnamon
1/2t cloves
1/3C finely chopped candied peel (I used grapefruit)
1/3C finely chopped almonds

2/3C sugar and 1/3C water for the glaze
halved blanched almonds and halved glacée cherries and/or
finely chopped pistachios

Bring the honey to a simmer in a big pan, then let col and add the sugar, egg, juice, and zest. Whisk the flour, soda and spices together (sifting the soda first), and stir into the honey mixture. Mix in the almonds and peel, then stick the whole thing in the refrigerator to rest overnight.

The next day, heat your oven to 375ºF. Roll the dough out to about 1/2" thickness and cut into flowers. circles, or rectangles. For the flowers or circles, decorate with almonds arranged as daisy petals with a cherry half for the middle. Leave the rectangles alone for now. Bake for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze by bringing the sugar and water to the boil in a little pan and cooking till it spins a thread. As soon as the cookies are out of the oven, brush with this glaze. If you've made rectangles, sprinkle them with pistachios as soon as you've glazed them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

pretty pink sauerkraut (I hope!)


I started a batch of sauerkraut today that should be pretty and festive if it turns out. It had three heads of white cabbage and one of red, totaling 3265g after coring, 680g of cranberries, and a couple of big sprigs of rosemary and bay leaves. Salt should be about 1% of the weight of the vegetables, so I added 40g of kosher salt.

When you're picking out cabbages to make sauerkraut with be sure to get the heaviest, most compact feeling ones you can find--they'll be easier to cut up thinly (you want to aim for slices the thickness of a dime), and ought to be pretty juicy. The thinner you can cut the cabbage, the easier it will be to squeeze out the juice--and you want to get out enough that the cabbage is covered with its own juice. Every time I make sauerkraut I wish I had a slaw board, but I don't make it often enough for it really to be worth it.

I'll be able to peek in a couple of weeks to see how it's doing, and I'll let you know!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

flaxy eggs for cookies

I'm finally feeling a little less grinchy, so decided to make some Christmas cookies. When I'm going to do a lot of baking requiring veganising omnivorous recipes I like to make a big batch of flax gloop to take the place of the eggs. I like how it works in cookie and cake recipes where the main function of the eggs is binding. It has kind of a funny flax smell, but I've never noticed it in a finished cookie, even a really mildly flavored one like a sugar cookie. I doubled the recipe since I'm planning to make more than five eggs worth of cookies.

Flax Gloop

makes about five egg-equivalents

4t flax seed
1C water

soaking flax

Put the water and seeds in a little pan and let soak at least an hour, or overnight. Simmer them together for 20 minutes, then pour into a cheesecloth-lined funnel set over a jar.

straining flax

When it's cool enough to handle, squeeze the gloop through the cheesecloth. It'll come mostly in one big glob, and you'll be pleased to see how slimy and viscous it is--remarkably reminiscent of egg whites!

Use two to three tablespoons to equal one egg.

flax gloop

Friday, December 10, 2010

a tasty salad for a meeting

celeriac apple salad

I had a work meeting requiring treats yesterday, and had some nice apples and apparently nice celery roots from my vegetable box, so I decided to make this salad. It turned out a little different than I'd imagined it--I thought it would be a sort of grainy Waldorf salad, and it was a little sweeter and a lot fluffier than that--but I really liked it and wanted to record it here so that I remember to make it again. I made it just as the recipe said except that I used my rice cooker to cook the quinoa, supplemented the celery root with regular celery when I turned out not to have enough of the root (see picture below), used aleppo pepper instead of a fresh chile, and added the arils of a pomegranate to make it look extra festive.

I used a magic vegetable peeler to julienne the apple; I would have tried it on the celery root too if I hadn't hacked it up into such tiny pieces to get the yuck out of the middle.

Yucky celery root

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

hippie salad dressing

salad dressing i

Annie has been asking me to keep an eye out for one of her favorite boughten salad dressings, Annie's Woodstock Dressing. I found it at our grocery store--its label has changed, so Annie must not have recognized it--and was shocked to see that it cost $4.69 for a tiny eight ounce bottle. It's only $3.39 if you buy it directly from Annie's, but I'm sure she charges enough for shipping that you wouldn't save any money. I make my own Goddess Dressing all the time, so I was sure I could make I decent version of Annie's favorite.

I pretty much copied the ingredients off of the label, leaving out the xanthan gum, and I think it turned out very well. Annie's version has little lumps of sundried tomato--if those are crucial to your enjoyment of this dressing, you could reduce the amount of tomato paste and, after whizzing the dressing with your blender, mix in a dried tomato rehydrated in warm water and chopped up into tiny bits.

I used some of this dressing to make a nice cruciferous salad for my work lunch--I just mixed it with some thinly sliced kale, savoy cabbage, green onion, and celery, and let it get nice and limp.

EZ Woodstock Dressing

makes a little more than 8 ounces

1/2C oil of your choice
2T tahini
2T soy sauce
4 1/2T apple cider vinegar*
2T nutritional yeast
2T tomato paste
2 cloves garlic

Blend everything till smooth.

*Really! 1/4C wasn't quite sour enough, and 5T was a little too sour.

Kale salad

Thursday, September 30, 2010

work treats

quinoa salad

We had a birthday party potluck at work yesterday, and due to a communication breakdown I was the only person working that day who knew about it. We pulled ourselves together and got some cake and ice cream to complement my salad, so my efforts were not in vain. Everyone but me had brought their lunch--not knowing there was a potluck--so there was enough to go around. My salad turned out really well, and several people asked me for the recipe, so I decided to record it here.

It was adapted and Americanized from this recipe by Yotam Ottolengi. I didn't have enough fennel, but had some lovely leeks I'd gotten for my birthday so added those, and I substituted edamame for the broad beans since that's a lot easier to find in Seattle. You could, of course, do your own substitutions and additions--but try to keep everything green, as the greenness was one of its appealing attributes.

Green Quinoa Salad

1/4C olive oil, divided
225g quinoa cooked in 325ml water (I did it in my rice cooker)
400g frozen edamame, thawed and mixed in with the hot quinoa
1 big fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 or 3 leeks, depending on their size, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp cider vinegar
1 green chile, deseeded and chopped (I used a roasted poblano)
1 sweet green pepper, seeded and chopped
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and black pepper
a handful of mint, roughly chopped
a big handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
some of the feathery leaves from your fennel, roughly chopped
3 limes, supremed, along with the juice squeezed from the leftovers

Heat 2T of olive oil in a big frying pan and sauté the fennel and leeks for about 15 minutes, till the leeks are soft. Add the sugar, vinegar, and some salt and cook for a couple more minutes, till the sauce thickens. Let cool.

Mix the quinoa and beans, your cooked vegetables, and all the remaining ingredients except for the lime supremes, in a big salad bowl. Artfully scatter the limes on top, and serve.

If you're not going to eat this straight away, keep the herbs separate and mix them in at the last minute, as the mint will turn ugly and black after a while and you want your salad to be pretty and green.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

noodle fun


I made these noodles the other day, and it really was fun. You bake baking soda for an hour to turn it into sodium carbonate--more alkaline than sodium bicarbonate--and then mix a little of it into the water for your noodle dough. It turns the dough yellow and makes the resulting noodles more springy and slippery than they would have been with plain water. My dough was a little dry and I had to add a little more water (for maybe a total of 7 tablespoons), but that may have been because I didn't have enough semolina and had to use about half durum flour.

Harold McGee says you can also use sodium carbonate to dip your pretzels in before you bake them if you're afraid of lye--it does a much better job than baking soda, which I know from experience has no effect.

Friday, September 17, 2010

fluffy spelt bread!

fluffy spelt bread

I've made this bread several times lately--it's really good when you want some sandwich bread in a relative hurry (i.e. you've no time to wait for your levain to resuscitate itself from its dormant state in the fridge). With this amount of yeast it will still take ten hours or so, but if you were in a super hurry you could speed it up by tripling the yeast. The disadvantage of making your bread this way versus with a levain is that it will stale much more quickly: you'll want to eat it up within three days, or make two smaller loaves and freeze the second one.

Quick and Fluffy Spelt Bread

750g whole spelt flour
525ml water
2T chickpea flour
2T oil (walnut oil's nice, if you have it)
1t yeast
2t salt
1t-1T honey (less if you're making savory sandwiches, more if you're eating it plain or making sweet sandwiches like the almond butter and bread and butter pickle one pictured below)

Start this before you go to bed if you want to have bread in the morning, or when you get up if you want to have it for dinner.

Mix all the ingredients together in a big bowl. Stretch and fold two or three times over the next hour, and then let the dough rest, covered, for about eight hours.

Shape into one big or two small loaves (for one 9"x5" pan or two 8 1/2"x4" pans), put into greased loaf pans, cover with a tea towel, and let rise till a little more than doubled.

Bake for 40-45 minutes in a 425° oven.

almond butter and pickle sarnie

Saturday, September 4, 2010

savory breakfast


I had a bunch of spinach that needed using up, and some leftover rice and pressed tofu from last night's dinner (we had this very good celery-tofu salad), and I decided to make them into my breakfast. It ended up being both tasty and photogenic, and something I'll want to fix again--suitable for a blog post!

Spinachy fried rice

serves one greedy person, or two with smaller appetites

1T peanut oil
1/2 an onion, cut into biggish pieces
2oz pressed tofu (or just firm, if that's what you have on hand), cut into little rectangles
about one cup cooked brown rice
salt and pepper (be generous!)
1T tahini
juice of half a lemon
a bunch of spinach, just the bottom inch cut off, washed and patted dry on a tea towel

Heat the oil on medium high heat in a big frying pan with a lid (like this one), and add the onion. Stir it nnow and then, and when it's starting to look cooked add the tofu bits. When the tofu starts to get nice brownish crusts, add the rice, salt and pepper as soon as the rice looks shiny and fried turn the heat down to medium, stir in the tahini, then add the spinach and lemon juice and cover the pan. Breakfast will be ready when the spinach is barely limp.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

blueberries, blueberries

biscuits and jam ii

Blueberry season seems to be going on and on this year. I got a huge thing of bargain blueberries about a month ago, and I'm still seeing blueberry bargains at the store, so I thought I'd better post a couple of blueberry recipes before it's too late.

First, a blueberry-banana jam. Though you might not think it, bananas are high in pectin which helps this jam gel nicely (blueberries seem to have less pectin than black and raspberries). Starting the jam the night before and letting it rest overnight means you'll heat up the kitchen a lot less than you would if you cooked it all at once.

Following that, a recipe for blueberry muffins. Rachael thought these weren't sweet enough and I thought they were just right: if you like your muffins to taste like cupcakes, feel free to add half-again as much sugar.

blueberries and bananas

Bluebana Jam

makes 6-7 1/2 pints

1 small lemon, halved and thinly sliced, pips tied in a cheesecloth bag along with
4 cloves
1C water
3 bananas, sliced (200g)
2lb blueberries
2lb sugar

Simmer the lemon slices and the little bag of pips and cloves in the water till the lemon's tender. Add it to all the remaining ingredients in a big pot, bring to the boil (stirring frequently so the stuff at the bottom doesn't stick) and cook till the sugar's dissolved. Take off the heat and cover, and let rest overnight.

The next day bring it back to the boil and cook for about five minutes, till it's turned to jam (it should be 221 or 222ºF). Pack into jars and boiling-water-bathe for five minutes.


muffin batter

Blueberry Spelt Muffins

makes 12 muffins

325g whole spelt flour
110g sugar
2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/2t salt
2t powdered ginger

1/2C soy yogurt
1C soy or other milk
1/3C oil, your choice
1t vanilla

220g blueberries

Heat the oven to 425ºF and prepare your muffin tins (grease or line with cupcake papers). Whisk the dry ingredients together in a biggish bowl and the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl, then combine them along with the blueberries. Mix just till it looks like nice batter, then fill your muffin tins and bake for about 20 minutes.

muffins iii

Friday, August 20, 2010

canning fun

Jennie iv

My friend Jennie came over for a day of canning--we made lavender peach jam (we cooked it till it was 224ºF this time, and it set nicely) and Yummy Banana Chutney. The chutney has to rest for six weeks before it will be truly ready, but it's already pretty yummy. The chutney had to cook for quite a while, so while we waited we had okara oaty bread and tomato eggplant salad for a treat.

bread ii

tomato aubergine salad ii

The okara oaty bread was a regular soda bread incorporating the sludge I had left after making almond-hemp milk yesterday. I'm sure any similar stuff would work--genuine soy okara, or ground-up oats from oat milk....

almond hemp okara

Oaty Bread

makes 1 small loaf

160g coarse, wholemeal flour
100g all-purpose flour
1/2t each salt, baking soda
25g oleo
1 batch of okara
100g rolled oats
200ml soy yogurt, about--the amount needed will depend on how thoroughly you squeezed your okara

Heat your oven to 425ºF and grease a smallish bread pan (my 8-1/2" x 4-1/2" one is a little too big). Whisk together the flours, salt, and soda, and rub in the oleo. Rub in the okara, stir in the oats, then mix in the yogurt till everything's wet. Add more yogurt if necessary to get a nice wet dough. Spread it into the greased pan, cut a deep slash down the middle, the pop it into the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. It won't darken much, but should smell nice and sound hollow when you thump its bottom.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Almond hemp milk

I got a soy milk maker a couple of months ago, and I really like it--it can make grain milks, mung bean milk, and nut and seed milks as well as soy milk, and all for much less than buying them at the store. A quart of soy milk costs at least $2.00, and enough soybeans to make a quart only costs about 15¢. My favorite milk so far has been using half soybeans, half brown rice: the brown rice gets rid of the beany flavor and adds creaminess to the milk--it's as thick as whole cow's milk, but without the unpleasant (to me) mouth-coating unctuousness.

Today I made a quick-and-easy milk that didn't require my new machine or any cooking at all--just a good blender and some cheesecloth. It has a nice, nutty taste and should have some omega-3 from the hemp seed.

Almond-Hemp Milk

1 1/4 oz hemp seeds
2 oz almonds
5C water
optional: salt, sugar, vanilla to taste (I like my milk plain)

Soak the seeds and almonds in a couple of cups of water for a few hours, then blend thoroughly in your blender. Add the rest of the water and blend some more. Pour through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a big bowl. When most of it's gone through, gather up the cheesecloth and squeeze the rest of the milk out. You can add the remains to some muffins or something if you feel bad about throwing them in the compost.

Monday, July 26, 2010


mango salad i

There have been bargain mangoes around lately (2/$1 at Safeway this week!), so I have been buying them to eat for breakfast and to make things like apricot-mango jam (not really a success: it tasted nice but didn't set). I made this salad for Rachael, and it was the only part of dinner she liked--the stripey-pan tofu and oniony bulgar were too healthy for her refined palate. It's based on a salad our friend Mely brought to a church picnic long ago. When I asked her later for the recipe she said she couldn't remember, she'd just made it up: this is my reconstruction.

There are all kinds of methods for cutting up a mango, but whatever method you use, you should be sure to get all of the peel off as it can cause a terrible rash. I have a special mango peeler that gets off a nice, thick layer:

Mango peeler

Fil-Am Mango Salad

makes enough for four people, or two with leftovers

a sweetish onion, thinly sliced
2T rice vinegar or lime juice
salt, black pepper
2 under-ripe mangoes, peeled and cut up into biggish pieces
a cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, cut into thickish slices
1 or 2 tomatoes, cored and cut into suitably-sized pieces
a little sugar,if necessary
some lettuce, preferably a crunchy kind like iceberg or romaine, ripped into bite-size pieces

In a big bowl,sprinkle the onion with the vinegar or lime juice, season with salt and pepper, and let soak while you prepare the remaining ingredients. When everything's cut up,lay the lettuce on your serving dish and mix everything else together. Taste for seasoning--it may need a little sugar if the mangoes were really under-ripe. Pile it all on top of the lettuce and serve.

mango salad ii

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

crunchy granola

closeup granola

I have always thought that granola and I had the same birthplace--Chico--but this article makes it clear that granola's actually a Texan, and only moved to Chico in early childhood. We made it once when I was little, and it turned out well, but Annie was so horrified by the huge amount of oil in the recipe that we never tried it again and stopped buying it at the health food store.

Last January I read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about modern, un-hippified varieties of granola, including one in which applesauce takes the place of much of the oil. I tried it and it was good. Here's my version--it makes a little more (it keeps well, so why not?) and has even less fat. I don't add any fruit, because it's easy enough to add fresh or dried fruit as you serve it, depending on your mood and what you have on hand. You can, of course, vary the nuts and seeds according to your tastes.

granola serving suggestion

Crunchy Granola
makes about 5 pints

dry ingredients:
450g rolled oats (or other rolled grains)
150g each flaked almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
100g each sesame seeds, flax seeds
2t cinnamon
1t each ginger, kosher salt

wet ingredients:
1 medium apple, cored and roughly chopped (or 200g applesauce)
100g (1/3C) agave nectar
1/4C (80g) maple syrup
2T oil (I used canola)

Heat oven to 300°. Line two cookie sheets (the kind with edges) with tin foil.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a big bowl. Blend the wet ingredients in a blender till you can see no discrete pieces of apple, then mix into the dry stuff with your hands. Spread out over the cookie sheets and bake for 40-50 minutes, every 10 minutes or so stirring the granola and shuffling the pans around in the oven so that they will bake evenly.

Let cool thoroughly before putting into jars.

This is less sweet than granola from the store, so you'll want to be sure to add some fruit upon serving.

jarred granola

Sunday, May 16, 2010

springtime parfaits

rhubarb parfait

I've been getting strawberries and rhubarb in my vegetable box lately. If I was cooking for just myself I'd have made strawberry tapioca with some of the strawberries, but Rachael inexplicably doesn't like it. I used to make these strawberry parfaits from Eating Well at least a couple of times a year during strawberry season, so thought Id try a veganised version. It was a success, so I followed it the next week with a rhubarb version which I thought turned out even better. If you're a fan of strawberry-rhubarb, you could try using raw, sliced strawberries in place of the banana in the rhubarb version.

This should make four or five parfaits, depending on the size of your glasses--mine are 250ml, or a little over 8oz, and I get five with them.

Strawberry or Rhubarb Parfaits

for the cream:
1 1/2T tapioca flour
2t custard powder
3T sugar
1 1/2C almond milk
2t orange zest

for rhubarb:
1lb rhubarb, trimmed and sliced
1C sugar (7oz)
3T orange juice
2t Minute Tapioca
1/4t cardamom
2t clementine cordial or similar
2 bananas, thinly sliced

for strawberries:
1 pint strawberries, cored and sliced
1T sugar
2t clementine cordial

To make the cream, mix the tapioca flour, custard powder, sugar, and 2T of the almond milk in a small heavy pan. Once all of the lumps are mixed out, whisk in the rest of the milk along with the orange zest. Bring to the boil and turn the heat down and simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently. Take off the heat and let cool for about twenty minutes.

To make the rhubarb, mix together all of the ingredients except the bananas in a medium pan. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered--stirring frequently--till the rhubarb is very soft. Take off of the heat and stir in the bananas and cordial. Cool for about twenty minutes.

To make the strawberries, mix everything in a bowl and let rest for about twenty minutes.

Once everything has rested and cooled, assemble your parfaits: starting with a layer of fruit, divvy up the cream and fruit among the glasses. With my glasses, three layers of fruit and two of cream worked out well. Cover the glasses and chill the in the fridge for an hour or so. These keep well for at least three days.

strawberry parfaits

Friday, May 7, 2010

olive bread

sliced i

My usual olive bread is a sourdough with a little bit of rye flour as its base, but I recently had a request for an olive ciabatta recipe so I decided to branch out. I made a couple of loaves of this--one for me and Rachael to sneak in to the movies, and another to take in for a work treat. Rachael didn't really like it (she's not a big olive bread fan in general), but it was a great success at work.

I usually measure my bread ingredients with a scale--as well as being more accurate, it's easier and less messy and makes for fewer dishes to wash--but have converted to volume measures for any scaleless readers.

Olive Ciabatta

makes 2 loaves

180g bread flour (1 1/2C)
180g water (3/4C)
1/8t instant yeast

400g bread flour (3 1/4C)
25g toasted wheat germ (1/4C)
260ml water (1C +2T)
12g salt (2t)
1t yeast
2t fresh thyme, or 1t dry
225g unpitted olives (1 1/2C)--I used kalamatas because that's what I had, but use any olives you like.
all of the poolish

The night before you bake, mix the poolish ingredients together in a little bowl and let rise, covered, overnight till it's very bubbly.


In the morning, thoroughly mix together all of the dough ingredients except the olives. This dough will be very sticky, so if you don't want to use your mixer to knead it do as I did and stretch and fold* it three times in the first hour of its rising. Let the dough rise for about three hours altogether, till about tripled.

Meanwhile, smash the olives with the side of a big knife, then tear them in half and get the pits out. Let them drain on a towel while the dough rises.

draining olives

Dump the dough out onto a well-floured counter and stretch out into a big rectangle (about 10"x14"), and scatter 2/3 of the olives over it. Fold the rectangle into thirds (like a letter), stretch a little more, scatter with the remaining olives, and fold into thirds again. Cut it in half and shape each half into a round, tucking in any exposed olives.


Let the dough rest for ten minutes, then stretch out into ciabatta shapes on a piece of parchment paper on a peel or back of a cookie sheet.


Veil the shaped loaves with flour, cover with a cloth, then let rise till very light, one to one-and-a-half hours.


At least 45 minutes before you bake, preheat your oven with its baking stone in it to 475°. When the loaves are risen, squirt them with water and then slide them onto the stone. After ten minutes, turn the oven down to 425°. Bake for about 25 minutes total, till well-browned and until the loaves' internal temperature is at least 205° (mine got up to 211° and weren't overdone).


*I just do this in the bowl, not laying it out on parchment paper, and stretch mostly lengthwise instead of making nice rectangles. It works just as well.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


hamantaschen i

I was having company for breakfast and again for lunch on Purim, so I decided to make a bunch of hamantaschen with my spelt cinnamon roll dough. According to Jewish Cookery I erred in serving them with tea--the cookie variety goes with tea, while the yeasty buns should be served with coffee. They were a success nonetheless, so I thought I'd record how I made them so I can do it again next year.

There are bigger sections of bread uninterrupted by sweet filling in these than in cinnamon rolls, so I think next time I'll add a little more sugar to the dough, and maybe a little lemon zest. One recipe's worth of dough is sufficient to make eight hamantaschen. I doubled the recipe as I was serving them twice and hoped to have some left to take to work the next day, so I made two different fillings: apricot and poppy. The apricot filling was very easy to make--mix together equal parts apricot jam and grated apple. I invented the poppy filling and didn't write down the amounts, but here's the general method: soak poppyseeds in water overnight, then cook in soy milk with sugar, honey, cinnamon, and some raisins. add a little vanilla, and grind in a blender. If it's too watery, add some more raisins and grind some more.

Divide dough into eight equal portions, and roll each out into a thin disk. Put a blob of filling in the middle, and fold the edges in to form a triangle. Leave the center open so a little filling is peeping out. Bake at 350° for 17-20 minutes.

apricot and dough

ready to bake

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

spelty cinnamon rolls

I must apologize to all my fans for my lengthy blogging hiatus. I had all kinds of ideas for things to write about, and took lots of pictures, but just haven't been in the mood to actually write anything down. I'm back now, though, and have a nice veganised, speltified cinnamon roll recipe for you. It's adapted from the 'Twinkling Rolls' recipe in an old Good Housekeeping cookbook.

They're small and raisin-and-frosting-free, because that's how I like them. Rachael agrees, and adds that they are the perfect sweetness. I used a little bit of whole spelt flour along with the white, because it seems to make for a livelier dough than one made with only white flour. These aren't quite as soft and fluffy as regular wheat cinnamon rolls, but they're close.

cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

makes 12-14 little rolls, enough for 3 people

175g white spelt flour
75g whole spelt flour
1T each potato flour, chickpea flour
150ml soy milk, warmed
25g oleo
2T sugar
1t yeast
1/2t salt

40g oleo, melted
1/4C sugar mixed with 1t cinnamon

Mix together all of the dough ingredients and knead till smooth. You can either let it rise now or stick it in the refrigerator to rise slowly overnight if you plan to have cinnamon rolls for breakfast. In either case let it double.

Heat the oven to 350°. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a big rectangle, about 14"x10". Smear with melted oleo, leaving about 1/2 an inch along the long side ungreased so you'll be able to seal it up. Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon sugar. Roll the dough up, pinch shut along the ungreased edge, and cut into 12-14 little rolls. Arrange them into a greased 8"x8" pan. Sprinkle any remaining cinnamon sugar over the rolls, and smear them with any sludge that oozed out when you cut them. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

superhealthy scones

cranberry scones

I made these vegan, wheat-free, whole grain, no-cane-or-beet-sugar, trans-fat-free, no nuts or legumes scones the other day and they turned out really well. They weren't dry and dense like whole wheat biscuits usually are, and are edible by everyone I know except the gluten intolerant and coconut allergic. The recipe's adapted from a raspberry scone recipe in Babycakes.

Cranberry Spelt Scones

makes 8 smallish scones

4oz cranberries
3 3/4 oz light agave nectar, divided
8oz whole spelt flour (if you grind it yourself, run it through the mill twice to get it really fine)
1T baking powder
1/4t cloves
1/3t salt
2 1/2 oz coconut oil
1T grated orange zest
1T vanilla extract
2T oil (whatever kind you like: I used canola)
1/4c hot water

Preheat oven to 400°.

Cut the cranberries in half and toss them with 1oz of the agave nectar. Set the bowl on the stove so that the heat of the preheating oven warms the berries up; periodically squeeze them a little with your hands to work the agave nectar in.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, cloves and salt together, then rub in the coconut oil till the mixture looks like cornmeal. Make a volcano and put in the orange zest, vanilla, and remaining agave nectar. Mix it up, then add the hot water and mix some more.

Divide the dough into two blobs on a floured board. Flatten each with a floury hand, cut each into quarters, then transfer the wedges to a parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes.

cranberry scone

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

apricot bread

fig balls

Last Saturday, Annie, Rachael, and I went to our friend Julie's house for dinner and to exchange Epiphany presents. My holiday preparations this year were halfhearted (I get more misanthropic at Christmastime with every passing year), and on Saturday morning I decided that Julie's little bag of presents was inadequate. What else could I make that would be unusual and festive, and not require going to the store to get ingredients? I decided to make pan de albaricoque, similar to this apricot bread but with more flavors. I was astonished when we opened our presents to find that Julie had made us Turkish fig balls--a very similar concept, dried fruit whizzed in the Cuisinart with nuts.

My apricot bread was easy and pretty successful, so I'll present you with its recipe:

Pan de Albaricoque

375g dried apricots (I used Trader Joe's Blenheim apricots, as they're a lot more flavorful than Turkish ones)
90g each pistachios and almonds
2t orange zest
1T each sugar and honey
1T brandy
1t powdered ginger
optional: more dried apricots, bay leaves, dried cherries

Toast the nuts in the oven at 350 F° for about 10 minutes, then grind them up in your food processor till they're fine meal. Don't let them turn to greasy butter! Put them in a bowl, then grind the remaining (non-optional) ingredients till they're a nice, smooth paste. Scrape the paste (watch out for the blade! I nearly made pan de albaricoque y sangre!) into the bowl of nut meal and mix everything together thoroughly with your hands. Divide it in half and shape into two big, flat circles.

You can make a cereza sandwich with one of the circles if you like, by cutting it in half, pressing dried cherries onto one of the halfs, covering it with the other half, and squashing it some more to make it as thin as it was before. You could decorate the other circle by covering it with some of your prettier dried apricots, or just cut it into wedges and stick a bay leaf on each.

If these are anything like the pan de higo I made a couple of years ago that's still good, they should keep a long time.

apricot bread